Illustrator: Nathan Armistead
At 1.4 Megawatts the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) is the most source in the world for pulsed neutron beams. The neutrons coupled with 20 leading instruments provides the research community with the ability to glean details about the nature of materials that cannot be obtained with any other technique. These details can lower the cost, improve the efficiency, and improve the safety of everyday products we use like: electronic devices, cars, medicine, batteries, power lines, and more.
POWGEN is one of the 20 unique instruments at SNS visiting scientists use to study energy storage and magnetic materials. One of the most notable scientists who have used POWGEN for research is Dr. John B. Goodenough, who received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discoveries that led to the development of the lithium-ion battery.
When I first saw POWGEN, I was fascinated with the striking radial near-symmetry, vibrant colors, and intriguing patterns of the instrument. This visually arresting nature inspired a dynamic duotone composition with bold art deco influences. I imagined a central source of warm light which radiates outward through the lattice of metal and wires, with the resulting interplay of light and shadow creating spiraling geometric patterns which echo and reinforce the shapes of the instrument. —Armistead